DISCLAIMER: A very lengthy analysis about Myrtle Sarrosa. This is an analysis post and not an ‘opinion’ post. Readers with IQ lesser than 90 are not encouraged to read this. Seriously. Also, please credit this blog properly if you are going to post this somewhere else.
Perhaps one of, if not, the most enigmatic personalities to land in Philippine reality TV history, Myrtle Abigail Sarrosa has surely raised the interest – may it be positive or negative – of a lot of people. And that includes me.
First off, let us establish a clear ground of where this analysis is heading by laying down facts and maintaining an unbiased blow-by-blow reaction of the issues and controversies plaguing her. As a rule of thumb, let me define points of how this analysis came up to be by giving a brief background on what interested me most about the issue.
Reality TV shows aren’t really my cup of tea, much more the highly-sensationalized PBB, for the fact that almost everybody who join these competitions are mostly rehashed personalities of one another. There are no “stand-out” characters and usual contestants usually fall on the following stereotypes: the poor boy who is the breadwinner of his family, the kalog and cheerful barrio lass, the misunderstood socialite, the humorous joker with a troubling past, the all-around pretty face, the half-Filipino whose looking for a lost parent, the rich kid who wants to give it a try just for the heck of it, the wannabe artistas, the rulebreaker, so on and so forth. The usual housemates, from the first edition to the latest, usually fit one or two of these labels – different faces, different stories, similar common personalities. That was one of the reasons why I was never interested. Until of course, this season came. Before the popular catchphrase “PBB Teens” came out, this edition already got my attention the day a teaser was aired about the cosplaying, SK President, University of the Philippines student who will join the cast.
Now that’s an interesting combination: a cosplayer that is a young leader and an Iskolar ng Bayan. These three aren’t exactly mutually exclusive, though. UP is one of the most conducive environments in promoting individualism which is why an Iska Cosplayer isn’t something new. Now, a student leader who cosplays may appear as rather far-fetched but this is a phenomenon we have observed to be true in the persona of Myrtle – something that we will count as one of many enigmatic things about her. With all these, what struck me most is not how she is all three, but rather the fact that an SK-president/cosplayer/UP student will join PBB. And this is what got me interested in this PBB season. FINALLY, a new personality is included into that long disused list… the introduction of “THE WEIRD”.
As the url of this blog suggests, this will be a quasi-analysis about the weird person that is Myrtle Abigail Sarrosa. There’s this wonderful cultural process we call reappropriation. Reappropriation refers to the process by which a group reclaims —re-appropriates—terms that were previously used in a way disparaging of that group. An example of this is how the pejorative ‘nigger’ used to demean black people was re-appropriated into ‘nigga’ as a way of reversing the negative stigma associated with the word. Re-appropriation is also the reason why ‘gay’ is no longer considered irrevocably demoralizing when referring to members of the LGBT community and how ‘otaku’ has developed from its negative background as Japan’s way of referring to someone with obsessive interests in geek culture to something that fandom people would fondly call themselves. In line with this, we will use re-appropriation with the word Myrtle followers (yes, I call you followers, haters) has coined for her: WEIRDTLE. Weird is defined as fantastic; bizarre; or something that refers to that which is mysterious and apparently outside natural law. Basing on the lexical definition of the word, it will be safe enough to assume that Myrtle is, in fact, weird.
It is pointless to enumerate the things that made her strange to other people because these are very apparent. The most obvious indication would be the fact that at least half of the PBB consumer population (as based on online feedback) misunderstands her greatly. This also brings me back to the purpose of this blog. Deconstructing Myrtle Sarrosa and making the intelligent public understand a little bit more about her. I will attempt to decode the phenomenon that is the “MYRTLE LOVE/HATE” and will compartmentalize my analysis in three parts: PERSONALITY BACKGROUND (includes Family History, Childhood, Personality Type, and other factors such as Identity Crisis and Adolescence), ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIES (cosplaying, make-up, loveteams, goals), and REACTION OF THE PEOPLE. So, shall we start?
There are many factors which influence a person’s personality. The age-long debate on nature vs nurture is one way of determining or understanding the nature of a person but in this post, we’ll mix the two. To understand Myrtle, one must have a clear mind (it’s a must) and an even clearer knowledge of who she is more than what the PBB management has shared to its audience. To start with this, let us tackle her family.
Myrtle Sarrosa is the eldest daughter of Fatima and Rudolfo “Russ” Sarrosa Jr. Her grandfather, Rudy Sarrosa, is the former mayor of Barotac Nuevo and her dad is a Sangguniang Bayan member (councilor). The Sarrosas, apart from being active in the political scene, are known as one of the relatively wealthier families in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo. Hence, it is no wonder if Myrtle was brought up with a personal yaya by her side. One may ask, why do we need to raise her family background in this personality analysis? Simple, because this fact alone is enough to answer one of the largest misunderstandings circulating her as of the moment: that is her perfectionist nature and trying too hard to please others.
To assert my stance, let us not jump on this matter upon value-judgment. Let us free our minds of those labels of her being perfectionist/uptight/trying hard and simply focus on her family influence. We neither affirm nor deny if these labels are correct but we will attempt to scratch beyond the surface on why she happened to act this way.
Given the fact that Myrtle is born in a politically-affluent family, she had already been exposed to the public eye at a young age. Like most members of known families, there are a lot of expectations given to you – may it be unspoken or not. Myrtle, by the mere fact that she is a Sarrosa, carries with her not only her name but the name of her family as well. For a teenager (and any other sane human being), this is a rather heavy responsibility to bear. To be ‘perfect’ and ‘proper’ because everything you do will reflect on your family – that even if your family did not necessarily demand you to be that way, you will still feel a subliminal need to live up to what was expected of you as part of the clan. This can be one of the reasons why she is so ‘uptight’ and concerned about the way she presents herself. Her trait of being an ‘achiever’ can be attributed to this, too.
Some people may not understand the pressure of being affiliated with an influential family but to those who are smart enough to understand, we can see the reason on why Myrtle’s personality is like that. Moving on…
There was never an officially released statement about Myrtle’s childhood except for those accounts of how she was a victim of bullying back then. On why she was bullied and by whom is something that we cannot answer – and it is also something we do not necessarily need to dig – but it is important that we take in consideration this childhood experience to understand her.
Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal, and physical. Bullying happens everywhere – in school, church, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods. In Myrtle’s case, it’s in school.
Regardless of where it took place, effects of bullying can be serious. It may range from social exclusion to violence to other intense psychological traumas for the victim. People have come up with different defense mechanisms to cope up with bullying; repression, suppression, sublimation, etc. Some people who were once bullied later on become bullies themselves. Some others remain withdrawn all their lives. And a relatively few, managed to bring themselves up and let go of the painful memories associated with childhood demoralization. Bullying is an overrated phenomenon yet it is mostly overlooked. We salute survivors of bullying but what we do not know is anything that happens in childhood leaves scars. Victims may be able to pull themselves together but the insecurities inflicted to them will always be there. It will never leave. It may be neutralized, yes, and some may even try to hide it in the deepest chasms of their consciousness, but it will never leave.
On a deeper observation, one can see how Myrtle is often trapped between the choice of being indifferent to what others feel and trying her best to compromise. This confusion leaves her in a state of being inconsistent with her actions. Perhaps honed by experience from being bullied, she tried to be indifferent to the negative things said to her by the housemates and yet, there’s still that longing to fill the void which is the need to be accepted. This ignites those moments of uncertainty she feels inside the house (a controlled environment) and something that is also supplemented by the next part.
In a generally extraverted country like the Philippines, Myrtle’s personality is more of a “threat” than a “breath of fresh air”. We are not sure what Myrtle’s personality type is exactly but the way we see it, she comes off as an INFJ (using the MBTI system). She, at times, portrays INTJ characteristics too but as of the moment she displays strong INFJ traits.
INFJs, for the less knowledgeable, are among the rarest of the sixteen Myers-Briggs personality types, constituting only 1-3% of the general population. INFJs grow up feeling “different” from their peers. The more pronounced their Introversion and Intuition, the more estranged they are likely to feel. Young INFJs also feel misunderstood by their elders, who can be quick to ignore or dismiss their precocious insights and observations. If given unsympathetic circumstances, INFJs may come to feel isolated or rejected rather early in life. INFJs are “old souls.” They grow up feeling far wiser than would be predicted by their chronological age. INFJs are among the most profoundly creative of all types. Many INFJs struggle with bouts of depression, which may relate to any number of things. They may, for instance, get depressed when they feel their creative inspiration has left them. Or, because of their otherworldliness, they may struggle with feeling deeply alone and misunderstood. INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring. INFJs are concerned for people’s feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress. Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement. (personality page || personality junkie)
Sounds familiar? Sounds very Myrtle-ish to me.
Myrtle has been referred to recently as someone who “has her own world”. I believe introverts are known for this. However, what I do not understand is how society sees this as something negative. It’s amusing how the world isn’t very lenient to individualists and yet the movers of change and highly-revered personalities in science and arts are mostly introverted (Einstein is an INTP, Carl Gustav Jung is an INFJ, Bill Gates is an INTP, please google the rest). For this, I have come to the conclusion that because introverts spend time being with themselves, the greater majority (extroverts) finds this exhilarating. Fear is something we feel only towards things we do not know. People will not fear something that they are aware of. It is always the unknown —- the less-traversed road, the dark, the thing which we cannot see, the thing we are not sure of —- which strikes fear into our hearts. And maybe, that’s what society feels towards introverts. Because introverts are usually drawn to themselves and only lets a small part of their soul to see, it scares the typical extrovert because s/he isn’t able to understand what goes on inside the introvert’s mind.
Myrtle, being an INFJ, is automatically clustered in the 1-3% of the population. As part of the minority, she automatically takes the title WEIRD. She does not fit with the norm and this is why she is misunderstood.
The last argument of the personality part is IDENTITY CRISIS and ADOLESCENT STAGE. I combined the two because they are closely connected. Both are also products of the three previously mentioned topics.
Granting that Myrtle is affected by subconscious concerns related to her familial background, this creates a psychological vacuum in contrast to her being an INFJ. Based on family history, there is the existing notion of communal definition on the way she acts – wherein her actions are an answer to what is expected of her or what she thinks is expected of her. This is contradicting with her need to assert her individuality – the predominant aspect of her being an artistic INFJ. These two highly-polar concepts of collectivism and individuality is a ground on what might have caused a ‘personality crisis’ for her. For one, this also addresses my previously signposted issue about the contradiction of her “cosplaying” personality and her “SK president” personality.
The beauty of the human soul that most people fail to actually understand is the ability to transcend and be dynamic. Perhaps, we are socially-construed to the notion that one person equals one personality that we fail to see (or rather we close our mind) to the possibilities of a highly-varied personality other people might possess. When someone shows highly-polarized traits/habits, we automatically point it as ‘identity crisis’.
On Myrtle, notice how she is very strict when it comes to tasks (to the point of being bossy and anal retentive) and then how she switches to the cute, cheerful otaku that she is once it’s over? This switching of two seemingly opposite personalities is something that society does not like. Society does not like impermanence. Society does not like change – especially if it happens too fast. Society does not like what they cannot predict. This trait of Myrtle is labeled as INCONSISTENCY; because surely, how can you be leader-like, bossy, strict one moment and then be child-like the next? Is that even possible?
Answer? YES, it is. Call it identity crisis if you want but the fact that a person is able to switch her disposition does not automatically mean that she has multiple personality disorders. We believe the right term should be MULTI-FACETED PERSONALITY. And isn’t that something we should glorify? Being able to adapt into any situation at the most comfortable manner without necessarily stepping into other people’s rights and producing the most detrimental effects?
This flows on to the fact that most people forget when dealing about Myrtle: the ADOLESCENT PHASE.
There are people to whom society is most lenient to: pregnant women, PMS-ing females, and teenagers. The common denominator of all these? Right, HORMONES. Myrtle is still a teenager. Hence, she is still dictated by the hormonal imbalances happening in her body. As a teenager, she is expected to commit mistakes. It’s her PRIVILEGE. But maybe because she has established herself initially as a level-headed, mind-over-matter girl, people tend to forget that she is but another teenager. She is subject to mood swings, angst moments, fluctuating emotions, and the like. This adolescent stage also covers one major issue which is her so-called love life. Something that perfectly acts as segue to our ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIES part.
ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIES
THE MYRVES CONUNDRUM: Oh why is she so in denial? Why can’t she simply tell her feelings? Answer? Because she does not want to and she does not feel the need to.
This is a really irksome answer and yet it is something we must accept. Going back to what we have established about her personality and how she is caught between the ‘dazed and confused’ phase at times, we go back on reiterating how her family life played a huge part. Imagine, for 17 years, she has been accustomed to checking and rechecking herself constantly to preserve family name. With this, one cannot simply dictate her to let go of all those years of ‘think before you act’ habit just so she can fit our accepted definition of being “real” (this I will discuss later).
The way Myrtle answered the question thrown to her by ex-housemate Nikka, on how one must not define things as simply black and white and how she cannot say that she has feelings for Yves but cannot say no also because she isn’t sure, tells us a lot about her principles in life. We can assume that Myrtle does like Yves but the fact that she still chose her principles of not having a boyfriend shows how the feelings she has for him isn’t that strong. And of course, who are we to dictate how she should react to that whirlpool of emotions? We are merely spectators. If she gets hurt for keeping her feelings, let her be. It’s hers after all.
Also, have you ever heard of crushes? If your crush tells you he likes you and you like him too, will you immediately say yes? Are you a Disney princess? Funny how people use the catchphrase “PBB Teens?!” when referring to how much they find ‘PDAing teens’ despicable and yet they subtly hint on promoting teenage affairs by imposing the terms “in denial” to a person who, in all due fairness, does not succumb to the “i-like-you-you-like-me-let’s-have-a-baby” mentality. Myrtle is in denial but then again, we cannot impose her on what actions we want her to do. What matters is she can stand up to her decisions and that is something we are yet to see in the coming days/weeks/years.
COSPLAYING: It is a form of self-expression. Much like how singers pour their heartaches to their songs and how dancers channel their frustrations on their dance moves, cosplaying – and any other hobby – works that way. To Myrtle, more than self-expression, cosplay is also a defense mechanism. It is difficult to explain cosplay to people especially if said people had already closed their minds to the notion. As a subculture, we understand the negative contention about cosplaying. Very much how people frown upon kpop lovers, indie bands, etc., something out-of-the-ordinary is a defense mechanism unacceptable to the less mentally-able society members. But then again, we pose this, if people do not find anything wrong with guys/gals singing/acting/dancing/drawing to convert their negative emotions; we do not see the fuss about our friends who let out their frustrations to the lesser-accepted way such as cosplaying. As long as they’re not running over somebody else in the process, why hate on them? In the words of Eugene Domingo, WALANG BASAGAN NG TRIP!
MAKE-UP: Honestly, this is a very irrelevant thing and we don’t even know why it is raised. But for matters of discussion, let us answer it. Make-up enhances appearance; appearance boosts self-esteem; self-esteem makes you happy. (And if make-up is so repulsively wrong, why are celebrities using it?) As long as it is your face you’re experimenting on and it’s your skin to which rashes will grow, we don’t think people need to care even when you decide to paint your face to look like Chuckie’s bride. Once again, WALANG BASAGAN NG TRIP.
ENJOYMENT: Oh, we’ve heard a lot about this!
Myrtle, why are you so hard on yourself?! Myrtle, loosen up! Why are you so uptight? It’s okay to do wrong, stop pressuring yourself! You should learn to enjoy!
Enjoyment varies. One need not party hard just to say she enjoys doing things. I have a friend back in college who spends his time translating snippets of LOTR into binary language. He does that when he is free or when he is not rubbing his nose on his biochem book. It freaks me out, honestly, but if the dude finds enjoyment in that, who am I to judge?
It’s amusing how people comment on Myrtle to loosen up and enjoy yet when she shows that she does by cosplaying, the same people complain.
Ah, Filipinos. Aren’t we a precious bunch of concerned and inconsistent individuals? If Myrtle finds her happiness in cosplaying, putting on make-up, or competing with herself, then let her be. When she grows up and looks back on things, she’ll learn that mistakes are normal. But then as mere audiences, we are not entitled to hate her (or wish her dead) for this.
GOALS: When asked why she joined PBB, Myrtle answered “to be an inspiration”. This answer spurted raging reactions from haters and fans, alike. The debate can go on forever whether she had lived up to her goal. Personally, the answer to this question is both yes and no. To some, she falls short of their expectations and yet to others, she has inspired them to do something - perhaps hone a craft, speak up, etc. Either way, Myrtle has clearly stated her reason why she joined. It was a very bold thing to say and she might not know the repercussions of her words but the fact that she knows what she’s into and she is determined to get it is inspiring. She got into the house with a goal in mind. She might have faltered along the way but the fact that she always, always manages to pick herself up to get there is amazing.
We can only assume on why she is so keen on proving herself. It might be the family issue or her childhood experience. But what’s most commendable is that, despite her willingness to win, she had never stepped on anybody along the way. This kind of attitude is rare and to see a seventeen-year old kid embody it have come off as a shock to many.
REACTION OF THE PEOPLE
Finally, we have reached the third and most important part. For the record, there is no such thing as Myrtle vs Karen vs Twins vs Harry Potter vs Voldemort vs JYP vs Usagi vs Afghanistan. I don’t understand why people need to make it appear like the Big 4 are fighting against each other. They are friends! PBB is competition, yes, but you can see that these kids have already created a bond. Can we not live well by not putting one down for the sake of another?
Myrtle fans, I know you get bashed a lot but let us be more patient. Emulate the attitude of your bet. Karen/Twins/Roy and other Myrtle-haters, hate is a heavy burden. Why are you even wasting time, effort, and money for someone you do not even like? To prove a point? Well, that’s good but then again, regardless if Myrtle wins or not, she will not lament over the fact that you spent hundreds just to prove how much you hate her. She’ll be surrounded by her fans and the people who love her for her to even acknowledge the ‘point’ you’re trying to make. Same goes to you Karen/Twins/Roy haters. This BBE thing is a manifestation of crab mentality. Aside from monetary purposes, I do not see other reasons why it is necessary in the PBB voting system. If you want your bet to win, do it in a calm and civilized manner. Text BBS.
BBE is the tool of the weak and the hopeless. Do not shame yourself to the point of lowering your level just to justify your enmity to a person who does not even know you exist.
But then again, who am I to speak right? I respect individualism so yea, if you find happiness in adding wrinkles to your face, then go. Enjoy.
Before this post ends, we answer the question: Is Myrtle real?
It depends on your definition of real, actually. How real is real? How do you quantify ‘real’? What if the ‘real’ you is a back-stabbing, in-denial, heartless git? Will it be considered non-real if it is something you are aware of doing and yet you still do it? You fake yourself in front of other people but you know that you are just being true to your preconditioned ‘backstabbing’ self.
Being real is something we cannot decide (especially if we are not even directly interacting with the person). As human beings, we are subjected to our everyday dealing with our surroundings. Our values are usually impermanent and we might act different now to how we act years ago, but then, does that make us non-real? In psychology, there is this concept called the Johari Window (google it). It is composed of four “windows”: Arena (known to self, known to others), Façade (known to self, unknown to others), Blind Spot (unknown to self, known to others), and Unknown (unknown to others and self). There are a lot of aspects to our personalities that we, ourselves, do not even know. Sometimes, the journey of knowing yourself takes a lifetime. How much more trying to assess another person for being real?
Trying to ask the question whether Myrtle, Karen, Joj/Jai, and Roy have been real is futile. Granting that everybody is so keen on ‘being true’, then let’s change that Big Brother slogan ‘iboto ang nagpakatotoo’ to what it really is: ‘iboto mo ang gusto mo’.
We are all granted freedom to give opinions (and in it, the freedom to offend) which is why to argue about things in a subjective manner will lead us nowhere. Myrtle may be playing safe, plastik, malandi, in denial, trying hard, uptight to some and she may be ‘the ideal daughter’, the one who works hard for the common good to others - at the end of the day, Myrtle will be who we think she is to our subjective and biased minds. Hence, it is important that before we jump to name-calling, we should have an objective understanding of why she came to be that way in our perception.
As for me, yes, Myrtle is weird. But so is everyone else. Each one of us has our own dose of weirdness. If you think that her weirdness is annoying, you have to open your eyes and broaden your mind. The way we see it, Myrtle is a walking contradiction. Even though the way she pulls herself together at the moment —- her unwavering determination and her strong sense of self-worth —- is something exceptional for a person her age, she is still young and she still has much to learn.
I can understand why Myrtle has created a buzz in the Philippine entertainment world. Pinoy show business is not yet ready for her kind. Hers is the type which you expect to end up in public office, or in a multi-national conglomerate, or in a National Artist nominee list – not showbiz.
Either way, thank you Myrtle for letting us know of your existence. That there are still kids like you and that no matter how harsh society may be, as long as your kind still exists, perhaps, there’s still hope for the Philippines.
You might not end up the Big Winner but you’ve already won the heart and respect of the Filipino thinking populace.
God speed, Myrtle Gail. God speed.